Bottom of Pyramid

Topics: Poverty, Ethics, Business ethics Pages: 17 (5393 words) Published: March 27, 2014

This section will go through the definition of marketing management and its ethical concerns towards Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) group of people. Besides, the element of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) also included in this introductory paragraphs.

Marketing is growing and keep on changing with time and age. To manage marketing, one must be knowledgeable and really understand regarding the marketing concept to be applied when doing a particular business. Wikipedia has defined marketing management as a business discipline which is focused on the practical application of marketing techniques and the management of a firm's marketing resources and activities. To create an effective, cost-efficient marketing management strategy, firms must possess a detailed, objective understanding of their own business and the market in which they operate. However, marketing must adapt with ethical concerns mainly when dealing with Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) group of people since physiological and sensitivity of this poor people must be at the first place to be concerned.

Bottom of pyramid has been recognised as the largest, but poorest socio-economic group of people who live and spend less than US$2.50 per day. Ever since BOP was defined by Professors C.K. Prahalad from University of Michigan, and Stuart Hart from Cornell University, which issued a healthy debate question whether there is really ‘fortune’ at the bottom of the pyramid. Otherwise, Aneel Karnani added to argue that there is no fortune at the bottom and for most multinational companies the market is very small and hard to be reached. Karnani propounds that the only way to alleviate poverty is to focus on the poor as producers, rather than as a market of consumers.
Even though they are poor as business partners and innovators rather than producers or consumers, an alternative approach proposed by Professor Stuart Hart and his colleague Erik Simanis have led to the development of the Base of Pyramid Protocol, an entrepreneurial process that guides companies in developing business partnerships with income-poor communities to co-create mutually beneficial businesses and markets.

In accordance to deal with BOP, some ethical standards and procedures must be followed by any potential firms to ensure that it suits the best performance for the firms and any misconduct which may tag BOP's welfare can be avoid. Ethics in business can be defined as the accepted set of moral values and corporate standards of conduct in a business organization. The specifics of what this actually means can vary from one organization to another. According to Kirk O. Hanson, a renowned ethics expert who also doubles as the Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, "business ethics is the study of the standards of business behavior which promote human welfare and the good."

Business ethics manifests both as written and unwritten codes of moral standards that are critical to the current activities and future aspirations of a business organization. It is about having the wisdom to determine the difference between right actions and wrong decisions which in this case will effect the targeted market of BOP. Business ethics fundamentally epitomizes the organization's codes of corporate governance. It stipulates the morality standards and behavioral patterns expected of individuals and the business as a whole.

Thus, ethical concepts in doing business with these BOP can be applied by inserting the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) elements. CSR which stands for Corporate Social Responsibility is In a simply words, according to Mallen Baker, who is a writer and speaker on corporate social responsibility stated that CSR is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. It comprised by the quality of a firm's management, both in terms of people and processes of the inner circle, and the other...

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V.K. Rangan & M.Chu. (2008). Business Innovations at The Base of Pyramid. The Global Business Summit. Available at Retrieved on 21 September 2013.
Karnani, A.(2009). The Bottom of the Pyramid Strategy for Reducing Poverty: A Failed Promise, Desa Working Paper No.80, Journal of Economics and Social Affairs, pp. 6-7
R. Hahn (2009). The Ethical Rational of Business for the Poor – Integrating the Concepts Bottom of the Pyramid, Sustainable Development and Corporate Citizenship.
C.K. Prahalad. (2004). The Fortune at The Bottom of Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits. Available at Retrieved on 25 September 2013.

Dhaval Chada. (2009). Thoughts of the bottom of the pyramid. Available at Retrieved on 25 September 2013.
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